coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Monday, August 29, 2016

Counting Calories: 7 weeks

I have been counting calories for 7 weeks and I have lost 10 pounds.  As I heard once in a Weight Watchers meeting, if you hold up two 5 pound bags of potatoes you get an idea of how much 10 pounds weigh. If only the weight I lost equaled the mass of those bags of potatoes. Then I could be done with this counting calories thing. 

10 down and only 35 more to go...  Aaack.  Considering how averse I am to actually dieting and how much I LOVE food (and, okay, wine), I figure it might take me a whole year to lose 20 more pounds. That means it may take me up to two years to reach my final goal weight. I am actually good with that scenario. Slow and steady wins the race, right? Of course, the longer I do this the better chance I have of making healthier eating habits become permanent. 

Don't worry! I am not trying to be thin. I never have been thin, and at 65 thinness is not something I aspire to. That ship has sailed! I am 5'2" and if I reach my goal weight I will be at the absolute tippy top of the healthy BMI for my height. Tippy top is good enough for me. I want to be strong, healthy, and energetic so I can keep up with my grandchildren.

I want to be able to jump up and down and act a fool when our granddaughter grows up and wins an academy award. That's a long term goal.

The little guy, N, expects grandma and grandpa to play tag with him for crying out loud. And he runs like the wind. My immediate goal is to be able to catch that little stinker. I want to win the game.

Still, if losing weight starts to make my neck look any worse then all bets are off.

See what I mean?  Like the wind

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


My last post (The Time) may have been the stupidest thing I ever wrote.  I actually woke up in the middle of the night filled with anxiety about it. I had to get up and add an addendum, hoping against hope that I hadn't already insulted or offended all my readers with my inane ramblings. 

There are days when a woman takes herself a little too seriously. And when I say "a woman" I am using the term in the Game of Thrones drop-dead-gorgeous-assassin sense to mean me, me, and only me.

I usually write a post and then I let it simmer for at least 24 hours. The hope is that I will eventually get it right BEFORE pushing that unforgiving "publish" button. The other day I was just so full of myself that I thought it was good on the first go-around and let 'er fly. Note to self, do not assume you know what you are talking about until you have struggled with the notion for way longer than you want.  

A couple of months ago I shared a rather sentimental music video on Facebook. A dear friend from my wicked youth wrote a comment teasing me about sharing it. She accused me of being schmaltzy. Ha! I had to laugh because she totally nailed me. If I turn my back or relax for one minute the schmaltz enters my body and takes over my mind. It is a constant struggle for control.

From my online dictionary:

schmaltz |SHmälts, SHmôlts| (also schmalz)
noun informal
excessive sentimentality, esp. in music or movies.
ORIGIN 1930s: from Yiddish shmaltz, from German Schmalz ‘drippings, lard.’ (melted chicken fat).

It is such a great word, schmaltz. Perhaps next time we can discuss the word schmutz.  

Jaqen H'ghar - not the least bit schmaltzy

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Time

Oh gee, where DOES the time go? And where does it come FROM, for that matter? These are the thoughts I have in retirement.

It is a helluva thing, Time. Closing in on 65, I figure I've had a lot of it. I hope to have more, of course. However, if something happened to end my time I would go out knowing that I have had a long and eventful life. I would have very few regrets.

But would I change anything? Would I go back, knowing what I know now and do things differently to avoid pain or hardship? Sure.

Then I wonder if I would have had as many adventures, victories, or just plain "Yes!" moments to remember. Who would I be if I had been able to avoid pain or struggle? Just how does this work, living a life?  

Afterthought/added after original post:  
And what of disease, trauma, and violence? These do no one any good.  I would change those things if I could.  

My footprint in the sand at St. Augustine Beach, August 2016.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Keeping House

I am not the best housekeeper in the world. I got the slob gene from my mother, although I am not really in the same league as her. She was an heroically bad housekeeper, especially as she got older. Sagas were sung! My siblings and I (and older nieces and nephews) tell stories about her house and we all laugh with great fondness and then shake our heads sadly. She just didn't care.

I was a little embarrassed by the clutter in her house, but I also got a kick out of her. She never took on that 1950's wifey clean-demon persona.  She was a complicated woman. Geez, I miss her!

Still, I keep a cleaner, neater house than she did.  She was a bit of a pack rat. The clutter in her house was over the top. I don't want my grandchildren telling stories about how messy my house was in 40 years. So I make the effort, the great sacrifice of time; however, I don't enjoy it and I don't go the extra mile. So there! I am a "perfunctory" house cleaner. I do a good enough, basic job. I like to imagine we pass as normal most days. I hope I'm not kidding myself.

You would think in retirement, one could at least keep up with these things. I try, but I have so little interest. I envy people who read Martha Stewart magazine and try to make everything beautiful. I admire those who have a day of the week for specific household tasks, who are organized and "keep up." I get it.  I appreciate it.  I just don't have it in me. Oh well.

A corner of my quilt/computer room right this very minute! Aaaack! I need to file.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A Case of You

My husband, T, and I have a lot in common. We are from similar working class socioeconomic backgrounds. We grew up in the same hometown in Northern Indiana and had many of the same friends as teenagers. We are both 3rd children. We share the same politics and have similar senses of humor. Neither of us are particularly romantic. 

Beyond that, there are differences. He was raised a casual Protestant, I was raised a devout Catholic. He likes mustard and I like ketchup. He likes IPA beer. If I must drink beer, I prefer German Hefeweizen, but I have a wheat allergy of sorts and if I eat or drink too many things made with wheat I will break out with eczema on my fingers and around my eyes. If I then stop eating wheat for a while the rash goes away. Very strange. I love wheat (think bagels) and so I periodically play with fire by eating it. I can't help myself. If T had a wheat allergy I am pretty darn sure he would never eat it again.

One of the biggest differences is the way we view the world.  He makes assumptions. I don't trust the world enough to assume anything. In our day-to-day life he rolls with the punches, I am consumed by blocking every move. He trusts everything will be okay. I anticipate every potential problem and try to find ways to avoid trouble before it starts. He is laid back. I am a nervous *&^%! wreck. He thinks I worry needlessly and I think he doesn't worry enough. 

And so it goes, and so it has gone for a long, long time. This year we are celebrating 45 years together. We were both wild and crazy kids when we married at 19. Nobody thought it would last. 

Relationships are difficult. It is hard to reconcile the fundamental differences between two cohabiting people for an extended length of time.  Obviously it takes compromise and mutual respect. Love is a given. Trust is important. You have to accept your partner for who they are, not for who you want them to be. But I think if there is a secret to a long and happy marriage it is "liking" your partner as much as you love him/her. 

You can love someone and still not like him or her very much. It happens. Love is personal and deep. Human beings are complicated. As the song goes, sometimes "love hurts." "Like" is conditional on compatibility and joy. I love that man like nobody's business, but we are not two hearts that beat as one. We have two separate hearts that beat for each other. And I really like him a lot.

I think she should have stayed with him...

I will have sporadic access to the internet this week, but will respond to comments as soon as I am able.  Cheers.

Saturday, August 6, 2016


I am feeling nostalgic this morning.  A number of the bloggers I read have been writing about the the shared past of our extraordinary generation.  If you participated in the wild times, stood alone and beholden to no parent, trusted wholly in the universe to see you through, then you know what I mean. 

I think we of a certain age are sometimes reluctant to write the truth of our youth. Will we shock our children, our grandchildren? Probably, but I wonder if it is ever wise to hide the truth?  It was an amazing time, seductive and transcendent. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Staring my self down

I've been counting calories for 24 days. I have been exercising (biking, walking, swimming) and as of a week ago today, I have lost 7 pounds. Of course those were the easy, first 7 pounds. 

I don't know about your body, but once mine realizes the Hunger Games have begun she throws those first 7 pounds off like wool blankets on a summer night. My body gives those pounds up quickly and graciously as if to say, "Here my sweet, you've done enough. Good job. Now give me some food, dammit." When I continue to withhold large quantities of sugar, bread, ICE CREAM and alcohol my body gets mad. She fights back. I withhold food, she withholds weight loss. It becomes a standoff, a game of chicken. Who is going to blink first?

This is a dangerous point in a diet. You really have to want to lose weight more than you want to eat. Just to be clear, I never want to do anything more than I want to eat, so this is a conundrum. I must reframe the dynamic. Let's see, perhaps I want to win more than I want to eat? Yeah, sure. So that's how I try to get through it.

The time period after the initial water weight loss reminds me of the first couple of months with a new baby when you give, give, give and get nothing much in return. Eventually the baby smiles, laughs, and learns to play and all that effort is worthwhile. The baby in this scenario is the scales.

If you can outlast your body during these stubborn plateau periods, she will eventually surrender some more weight. Really, it is simple math when you are counting calories. You just have to think in terms of weeks or months instead of days. Right?  Please tell me I'm right. 

Of course, my body is a stingy, passive aggressive Miss Thing. Sometimes she'll only give up a half a pound. If that. Some weeks I try so hard and she slaps me upside the head with a weight GAIN.  She doesn't play fair. She wants me to give up.  She is a worthy opponent. I'm kinda scared.

S&J's Tree Face looking like I feel right now